Tuesday, March 26, 2013


So far I have not seen or heard anything too terribly unexpected from the Supreme
court arguments for and against Marriage Equality.  I hope that the ever evolving support for this equal rights issue has some weight - but that is not how things are done in the Supreme Court, which is not supposed to be political - but is by it's make-up of appointed members..

I read this weekend that many young conservatives  are very unhappy that their peers (18-39)  support Marriage Equality in numbers nearing 80%. 

Eric Teetsel is the 29-year-old executive director of the Manhattan Declaration, an organization founded in 2009 by conservative activist Chuck Colson to tackle the issues of "life, marriage and religious freedom."  He told NPR:

"Those of us who understand the meaning of marriage and why it matters simply have to do a better job of educating everyone ... on these issues," Teetsel says.

Oh how I  love being lectured to by a 29 year old man about life, marriage and "freedom".

And worse than that - his organization is founded and run by one of the most amoral men in our county's history!! 

Chuck Colson,  known as President Nixon's "hatchet man,"  gained notoriety during the Watergate scandal and was named as one of the Watergate Seven.  He pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice for attempting to defame Pentagon Papers defendant Daniel Ellsberg. In 1974, he served seven months in the federal Maxwell Prison in Alabama.  Recently released tapes feature Colson and Nixon discussing the efforts to cover up their crimes - so he got off easy.

He was also quoted as saying he would run over his own grandmother to get Nixon elected.  A really good guy.

In prison, Colson became a Christian.  That didn't stop him from continuing to stick his nose into politics - it just became his new weapon.

On October 3, 2002, Colson was one of the co-signers of the Land letter sent to President George W. Bush. The letter was written by Richard D. Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and co-signed by four prominent American evangelical Christian leaders with Colson among them. The letter outlined their theological support for a just war in the form of a pre-emptive invasion of Iraq.

Colson is a member of the Family (also known as the Fellowship), described by prominent evangelical Christians as one of the most politically well-connected fundamentalist organizations in the US.  It is his position that a society without a basis of "moral absolutes" cannot survive.  And which morals are those?  And why do these people think they get to define them?

I would not deny anyone their second chance or the opportunity to improve themselves.  But it looks like Colson has simply switched hats and has continued down the road, running over grandmothers and families and whole countries full of people who are in his way.

Monday, March 25, 2013


It's Tuesday again, time for the Time Warp!  Join Jenn and others in sharing photos we have around our homes and telling the stories behind them!

These are my parents - Rich and Sally.  This Thursday, March 28th will be their 60th Wedding Anniversary!

They were just 19 and in college when they fell in love and got carried away and, well, me.  It was 1953 and they did what people did then - they got married.  Now I have 4 siblings and they have 14 grandcildren.

They have retired to Palm Desert, play golf a lot and travel around during the hot summer months.

Sunday, March 24, 2013


This is becoming a regular feature - the weekend bike ride.  We are so lucky to have temperatures in the high 60's (well, at least by noon.  My hands were freezing at 9 and I was glad to have longish sleeves and a windbreaker.)

Today we rode from Pleasanton to Dublin to the local REI store.  About 10 miles round trip. There was a sale and we had our dividend to spend and Tom has been eager to get me into proper "technical" gear. Again I was thrilled to find that I could fit into the XL size.  (In advance of our trip, I checked out the sizing chart - REI was a bit generous on the measurements given for the XL size.)  The pants were very snug, but they snapped closed and I can bend and move in them.  Since this stuff is pretty expensive, better to have room to shrink than have to buy new in a few months.

I got a pair of bike pants - not the tight kind you see on most people.  These are a loose, casual capri style.  Also a new windbreaker that is light as a feather and two shirts.  One which was drastically reduced from the running department.  It has long sleeves which I can shorten to 3/4 length and one real biking jersey from the men's department. 

Is it me?
 The women's shirts have such short sleeves that I shied away from them.  The weight loss has left a lot of loose skin and my arms need to be covered - not a pretty sight.

I also needed a helmet.  The interior padding of my old one had deteriorated and just could not be fixed.  I am really happy with my new one as it has lots of vents and is very cool on my head - cool as in air can circulate.  Not cool like this one I tried on...

We had a nice ride through city streets and along the Iron Horse Trail.  We stopped for a Mexican food brunch and sat on the patio before we rode home. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013


1.)  I just love Rachel Maddow.  On her show she was doing a recap on the federal budget proposals and the Sequester and relating how it affects our Veterans.  Even though the defense budget has more than quadrupled since 9/11, whenever there are line item budget cuts - they are ALWAYS for benefits and services for the veterans and families. Now returning service members are waiting 9 MONTHS to get any of their benefits instated.  Scholarships and loan programs for vets and the children of deceased military are being stopped all together, also due to the Sequester.

It goes on and on and is rarely reported.  As Rachel points out - this is shameful and the American people should rise up and demand better for our vets and their families.

2.)  An amazingly smart article on feminism and what we need to tell our girls:

Choosing — what feminism has always claimed to be about — has consequences. It isn't always easy. We pick one thing, which means we don't pick something else. Women need to get more comfortable than ever with their new buffet of choices, but also with the possibility for the same disappointment and unhappiness that men have enjoyed (or not) alongside their many choices. This isn't ammo for arguments that feminism has failed — it never sought to give us happiness, only greater freedom from which to fashion our own idea of happiness.

Nor does it mean that women who opt out of corporate ambition in favor of contentment have harmed perceived progress in the least. In the big, messy, complicated movement that encompasses the progress of all women, some of us can be the backbone, and others can be the bicep. The only thing that matters is to not let all this collective muscle atrophy.

3.)  One of my daughter's 19 year old friends confided that she has HPV.  She has somehow deluded herself into thinking she didn't get it from a sexual encounter - I loudly disputed that with my daughter lest the mis-information spread.  I feel so sad  for this young woman as the other woman I know with HPV had cervical cancer at 26, has surgically lost most of her cervix and will likely never bear children.   

This week I am reading that a whole lot of ignorant parents are now opting out of HPV vaccinations for their daughters; 44%, in fact,  for reasons which make no sense and fears which are unsubstantiated - and despite the facts:  

HPV causes essentially 100 percent of cervical cancer and 50 percent of all Americans get infected at least once with HPV. It's a silent infection. You cannot tell when you've been exposed or when you have it. While most HPV infections clear, a percentage linger and start the process of cancerous changes. The HPV vaccine is an anti-cancer vaccine.

I not only vaccinated both of my girls, I tried very hard to get my son vaccinated before they were recommending it for boys.  I failed in that attempt but I have made sure he understands his obligations to be tested and to practice safe sex.  We are far beyond unintended pregnancies and treatable STD's here. 

This can be a death sentence, like AIDS.  I cannot believe that we have an anti-cancer vaccine and parents are not lining up to have their kids get this protection.

4.)  Ally is coming home late Sunday for a few days of her Spring break  (her job has scheduled her for the weekends) - I hate having to work all week and not be able to spend time with her.  I finished the FAFSA for next year and the cost of tuition has exceeded the loans we can get - sigh.  Off to work I will go.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


I have seen a couple of interviews with Sheryl Sandberg, the Facebook exec who wrote a book about women in leadership. I have also read some of the backlash and commentary about her. While I agree that a woman in her position of uber-wealth has little notion of what it is like for average families and single moms to work and raise children.

However,  I don't disagree with much of what she has to say about keeping your foot on the gas of your career right up until the time you need to slow down or stop.

I know that I have gone for decades without being able to determine what I want without a whole list of people and their wants and needs filtering my every thought. At 1 1/2 years since our youngest left for college, I am at the point of unscrambling that filter a bit.

I don't think I am alone in this. We women try to manage everything right up front, to plan and figure out how to make it work. If we are doing this in our work lives before the big issues are at hand - then we are putting the brakes on our careers based on what might be. Something men are certainly not doing and it holds women back.

I have obsessed over this issue when it comes to my daughters.  What to advise them about work and marriage and families.  My kids were grateful for my presence as an at home mom.  Personally I think it is the ideal - but I didn't have work or a career I love.  I didn't have a need to be out there to feel fulfilled.  And I certainly am not going to judge the women who do have those things.  I just don't know how they do it unless they make a lot of money, have a lot of flexibility and have a lot of help.

I have also paid dearly for not keeping a foot in the workplace for the 16 years I was home.  I have been working in low paying and unsatisfying jobs far beneath my education and training since our lives experienced an unplanned for upheaval sending me out to work again.

The big reason this whole issue is important to me really isn't the part about work/family balance.  It is the part about women having a different perspective on things which is so important to bring into corporations and government and all aspects of our society.

We have a different voice and way of looking at things which we need to inject into the decision making process if our country is ever going to move forward in a more humane and thoughtful way.  We need to encourage and teach girls how to be leaders and not hold back from taking those roles.  So I agree with Sheryl Sandberg when she says "Lean In":

"If more women lean in, we can change the power structure of our world and expand opportunities," she wrote. "Shared experience forms the basis of empathy and, in turn, can spark the institutional changes we need. More female leadership will lead to fairer treatment for all women."

I would say for all people.

Monday, March 18, 2013


We went on a short bike ride this Saturday - too many chores and other things going on for a long ride.  We looped around our local sports park and got very nostalgic for the many years were were in the stands for softball and baseball games.  There was a softball tournament going on and hearing the girls chanting from the dugouts was so fun. Then we rode over to the tennis park and watched the little kids having lessons.  A big day for remembering raising athletic kids in the 'burbs.

Tom took my photo because I am finally wearing the Penn Rowing shirt that I bought in 2006 when Maggie first went away to college and was on the rowing team.  Although it was sized a 2X - I never could fit into it until now that I am a size 16.  In fact, we also went to the sporting goods store and bought bike shorts for me (the ones with the strategically located padding) and I was thrilled to find that I fit in the medium size - though the pair I bought were a large and a little less expensive since my size keeps changing.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


I enjoyed Aaryns recent post on Derwad Manor about ageing with style, and understand Jenns concerns coming up on a "big" birthday and the fears, questions and disbelief expressed by many bloggers I read who are dealing with getting older in general.

I am trying to remember when I started with those thoughts myself - but since I didn't have the twins until I was 35 and Ally until 40 - I was always the "older" mom in any setting.  I didn't sweat the looks part too much, I let my pre-mature grey hair go undyed at 48 and since I was overweight all of my adult life, vanity obviously didn't have much of a grip on me.  Not to mention I have been a lifelong sun lover and never took many pains to hide behind a hat or sunscreen - I made my wrinkles and blotchy face and enjoyed it!

I was more into being youthful in mind and spirit.  Having kids keeps you in the game when it comes to so many things - music, pop culture, fashion and so I have felt pretty with it for most of the past 20 years!  Now, I am facing 60, the kids are out of the house and I have lost some of my interest in being tuned in to the youth culture.

All of that is okay.

However, the solo, 2 inch long, silver  hair which I spotted growing out of the underside of my forearm is NOT OKAY.  It is like those pimples which occasionally appear in the middle of my wrinkly face.  These indignities are not to be tolerated. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


I live in the east bay area of San Francisco - farther east than Oakland and other more diverse communities - though we have a large population of Asian, Indian and Hispanic residents, we don't have a large number of African American residents. 

I really appreciate that the diversity is significantly improved from when I grew up in this area and I know that my children have benefited from it, and we have all learned so much from living and going to school with many different kinds of people.

However, not everyone in our communities feel as I do.  I especially see it when it comes to the local police departments.  I am not sure why it is:  there is just some sort of institutionalized and accepted prejudice against people with darker skin or if there is some sort of statistical support for the "special attention" that is directed at those non-white populations but it is obvious to me that there is something going on.

Everyday I see white people speeding, talking on their cell phones while driving, breaking traffic laws right and left.  When I glance over at a vehicle pulled over by an officer it is almost always a person of color.  Truly.  I have lived here for over 10 years and I rarely see anyone who is Caucasian pulled over. When I worked in the hotel one of the few black people staying as a guest told me he was pulled over down the block.  This was a businessman dressed in a suit in a rental car.  He has no idea of exactly why he was pulled over but the officer said "he thought he was using a cell phone."    

The reason I am going into all this is because MC Hammer, a local resident and well known rapper and musician was a frequent guest of the hotel.  He is a sweet,  mild man who likes to go to the movies late at night and stay over in our hotel with his wife of many years.    Last weekend he was parked in the lot outside the movie  theater, alone, when a police officer came up and tapped on his car window.  The first thing the officer asked him was if he was on parole.  His account was that he laughed and said no but the officer escalated the encounter to the point of an arrest because he was not the owner of the car he was in.

As you can imagine, it was big news in the area that MC Hammer was jailed overnight for "resisting arrest" and "interfering with the duties of an officer."  The police department would never comment on the specifics of the charges and today all charges were dropped.  It is very clear that the encounter and the arrest were based on a black man sitting in a car in a white community and it is shameful.

Just to put a point on it, a white physician was arrested for spousal abuse and battery the same week and it never even made the local news.

Monday, March 11, 2013


Time Warp Tuesday - a chance to show our favorite family  pictures and tell the stories behind them.  Hosted by Jenn @ Juggling Life - checkout the other players this week!

This was taken when Ally was about 3 1/2.  We escaped cool, rainy WA to visit my sister in CA and although Ally had been attending swimming lessons, I had her put on the water wings just in case.  Doesn't look like she minded a bit.

This is Tom's favorite photo of Ally. It certainly shows her personality!


Friday, March 8, 2013


1.)  I had a job interview on Tuesday. It went well until the GM entered the picture and focused exclusively on something that was given 1 line in the very long ad full of duties and qualifications.  EXCEL.  My nemesis.  From his perspective that part was a big deal, though the ad listed either Excel or Quickbooks.  So I doubt I will get a call back because I can't suggest any proficiency with Excel beyond simple record keeping.

 I would take the time to go to classes if I thought I actually wanted to learn to use it!!

2.)  I wrote about our bike ride last weekend and Tom has already made a plan for another one on Saturday when the weather is supposed to be nice again.  Last night he reminded me that I am not to tell people off for breaking rules of the road. 

Generally I am very live and let live so when I pointed out to one woman who was ON THE PHONE while wobbling along the trail that what she was doing is illegal and I also pointed out that we stay to the right on the path when a young man was cutting us off trying to ride to the left side of the trail;  I wasn't shrill, I didn't yell or anything - just matter of fact.  Maybe the kid was from another country or the woman didn't know the same rules apply to bicycles as to cars? Seems like someone should try to let them know.

Or maybe I'm just turning into a cranky old bag.

3.)  Got my hair cut the other day.  Up off my shoulders again.  No one has made comment which suggests that it was not a good choice.  I'll see if  can get a photo ofthe new look.

4.)  Zac may be coming home for a visit this weekend.  He is having a tough time right now and I hope a trip home will help make him feel better about things.

5.)  If there was any question that there is a huge disconnect between that what is good for Wall Street being good for Main Street I think we need only look at the financial news this week.  Record highs on the stock market making record profits for the insiders and other fat cats and the rest of us still struggling mightily.  I wish that the Occupy movement hadn't been taken over by the anarchists and crazies because we sure need a continuing voice for the 99% of us.

Monday, March 4, 2013


Tuesday already!  Time Warp Tuesday is sponsored by Jenn - a chance to show our favorite photos and tell the stories behind them.  Check in with Jenn to see who else is having fun this week!

This week I am sharing the last family portrait we had done.  It was in 2000 when we had a family reunion in Tahoe - back when my parents lived there.

We also had one done of just the kids.

This was the last year I dyed my hair and the lowest weight I had been until now!  Amazing to me to see the changes in the kids in 12 years!!

Sunday, March 3, 2013


The forecast for Saturday was so nice that Tom and I planned my first bike ride of the year.  A nice easy ride he said.  Well, we went round trip between here and Danville a "mere" 9 miles away.  I was game.  It was still hazy and there was a bit of a breeze when we started, on the  first stretch I spied some California poppies and some blooming trees and it was quite lovely.

After we were on the Iron Horse Trail Tom casually noted that it is uphill on the way there - only about a 2% grade - meaning you can't really see it but it is there.  At about mile 4 my knees certainly registered it!  We made it to our destination, meandered around the Farmer's Market, admired some dachshunds (missing Hilda) and then turned back.

The sun still hadn't come out as promised in the forecast, but my jacket was off and the reward of uphill all the way there was the much easier ride back. My knees were shaky the rest of the day (no Advil allowed yet so I just had to hang in there.)  Now I know what I need to work harder on at the gym! 

We have signed up for a bike event in May so I have a couple of months to get ready for that. Tom is planning to replace my big padded seat with a real bike saddle for our next ride. We'll see if that really does help with that other painful place -  the "bottom" - he swears it will...

Friday, March 1, 2013


Dear Google,

Just a quick note.  I do love your search engine and use it all the time.  I like your gmail, too though I am not thrilled to find out you read all my correspondence to gather information about me.

However, you make each work day a nightmare with your constant rounds of robocalls for Goggle+ and other products.  All day I jump off real business calls with customers and such only to find it is one of your pre-recorded ads. It is annoying and unprofessional of you to disrupt our daily business with your big budget ad campaigns. Today there were 5 of them! 

Please stop. You might want to find a way not to call businesses which already have Google + accounts!  Wow, what a concept. Or at the very least hire human beings and pay them a living wage to make the calls.   I might actually listen to what a human being is offering.  I will never respond to a machine.


Susan on behalf of all the people in the country answering their business phones.